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Cable Management Accessories
(Tuesday, October 23, 2012)
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Cable Management Accessories
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Cable Management Accessories

To the average consumer, the concept of cable management is minimal.  They may have four or five cables connecting their home theater or desktop setup, and use a tie wrap to keep it all together.  But there is a different, more essential form of cable management, that many IT professionals and network engineers are more familiar with: the wiring closet.  Setting up an office and running four or five hundred cables into a central closet and connecting them all up correctly is no menial chore, and keeping it organized and neat is very difficult, but very essential. A disorganized wiring closet has real costs, in the downtime for users and the time it takes for a technician to troubleshoot, isolate, and repair problems.

Fortunately, there are a lot of products available from L-com to drastically improve the organization of your wiring closet.

Cable Ties, Heat Shrink, and Tubing
A simple cable tie or tie-wrap

One of the simplest cable management accessories you can stock up on is the cable tie. They are cheap, abundantly available, and invaluable to have. L-com sells packages of 100 cable ties in various sizes. There are a few other, similar types of items that are small enough, light enough, and cheap enough for you to tack on to an order and then put in a desk drawer for emergency use. These items are things like heat shrink tubing (which is available in various sizes and contracts to form a tight seal when heated), expandable sleeving, and wrap tubing that allows greater flexibility and is less likely to damage the cables than cable ties.

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Racks and Cable Management Products
Cable Management Panel for 19-inch Racks

A 19" steel rack is invaluable for mounting equipment and patch panels in a wiring closet. But you should always save a little space on your rack for cable management bars and panels. They are simple and easy to use, and will give your rack a "cable friendly" structure to keep things neat and organized. Along with the D-ring panels that are a staple, consider horizontal cable managers (which can come as a hinged version), horizontal cable trays, and lacer bars. Combining a lacer bar with the cable ties above is a great and easy way to keep the cables clear of equipment as they hang off of higher patch panels.

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Color Coding and Labeling
A portable label printer helps organize any cabling project

One method that works well to keep wiring organized is a consistent color code. Many Ethernet cable assemblies and fiber optic cable assemblies come off-the-shelf in many different colors, enabling you to specify that all cables of a similar type or that come from a similar location have the same color. Then, when problems arise it is much easier to isolate and troubleshoot the problem, saving a lot of time and energy. Also, cable labelers are an investment that pays dividends later on. Spend a few minutes during setup to put a clear label on each wire or port, and later you're not fumbling with a toner to find the specific cable or port you need. Most labelers today are lightweight and portable, some with features like backlighting for darker rooms, and they allow a large variety of label texts and formats like die-cut labels.

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